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Clay Blankenship
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I have an idea for a game for 3-5 players where you draft cards for armies (probably fantasy themed since it's easy to come up with a variety of unit types, but it could be anything). Maybe you are getting a set of a few cards at a time, e.g. they are in groups of three. Some of the cards are "Evil" and are normally useless (or carry a penalty of some type), unless you end up with the most Evil cards. Then you become the Dark Lord.

At the end of the draft, all the good guys band together to fight the Dark Lord. (Could be I attack/you attack like Magic or Quarriors, could be a bit more tactical with a map.)

Does that create an interesting drafting game? If playing the Dark Lord is attractive, everyone may race for that. Maybe that's OK. I'm trying to come up with some way to make it a tough choice whether to become the Dark Lord. Maybe a press-your-luck type thing (corruption mechanic) where you can take powerful cards but risk becoming Evil (The DL is at a disadvantage since he is teamed up on.). That could make more sense thematically since you wouldn't automatically try to become the Dark Lord. (But at some point you might realize it's inevitable so you go big.)

Any thoughts concerning what you like or don't like about these ideas? Trying to figure out what direction to go with it. Just typing this in helped me crystallize some ideas but I will throw it out there for comments.
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Nate K
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It could be interesting. My two major concerns with the concept are:

1) It sounds like there are two very separate and distinct phases of the game, drafting and attacking. I worry that one part may be more fun/interesting than the other.

2) Balancing the Dark Lord would be extremely difficult. He/She would need to be able to compete against all the other opponents, who have likely drafted at least some Dark cards of their own.

It's certainly an interesting design challenge, though.
 
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Rocco Privetera
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If the evil cards are technically useless, they could translate to powerful things once you become the dark lord that counterbalance the power issue.

Say for the sake of argument you do something like make units be "Keeps" which basically deliver knights as battle units. Except that one out of three Keeps are actually Haunted Keeps. We assign 1 Knight per Keep and a value of 1 to each Haunted Keep. for example's sake, let's assume four players with 6 cards each. Players 1 and 2 have 4 keeps/ 2 haunted keeps; player 3 has 5 keeps and 1 haunted; and player 4 has 4 Haunted keeps and 2 regular.

the Good players get as many knights as keeps (2x4 and 5). The evil player gets a power equal to the total # of Haunted keeps in each haunted one he gets (4x4) because the evil power is shared between all of them somehow.

Dammit. I like this.
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Sanhueza at GAME-O-GAMI
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This is a very cool idea.

I wouldn't make the Evil cards worthless to the Good players. Because if you have players who decide early on that they definitely want to be the Dark Lord, and other players who decide that they will only draft Good cards, then you could end up with a polarized game balance. Anyone who didn't go die hard with one strategy or the other would end up with a weaker deck then those who did. One of the things that is really fun about this idea is the adjusting of your strategy as the draft progresses, so you don't want to discourage that.

I would strive to make the Evil cards very useful to everyone, but have a special significance for the Dark Lord (like allowing him to corrupt other players mid-game through their own Evil cards, or gaining extra power from his opponents' Evil cards, etc...) So even Good players will be tempted by the power of their Evil cards, but there is a price to pay... devil Even the Dark Lord could benefit from having Good cards in his deck, if going full-on Evil would have self-destructive consequences.


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BT Carpenter
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Have you seen Fairy Tale ?
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Clay Blankenship
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gameogami wrote:
This is a very cool idea.

I wouldn't make the Evil cards worthless to the Good players. Because if you have players who decide early on that they definitely want to be the Dark Lord, and other players who decide that they will only draft Good cards, then you could end up with a polarized game balance. Anyone who didn't go die hard with one strategy or the other would end up with a weaker deck then those who did. One of the things that is really fun about this idea is the adjusting of your strategy as the draft progresses, so you don't want to discourage that.

I would strive to make the Evil cards very useful to everyone, but have a special significance for the Dark Lord (like allowing him to corrupt other players mid-game through their own Evil cards, or gaining extra power from his opponents' Evil cards, etc...) So even Good players will be tempted by the power of their Evil cards, but there is a price to pay... devil Even the Dark Lord could benefit from having Good cards in his deck, if going full-on Evil would have self-destructive consequences.



Thanks for the comments, everyone. I very much agree with your point here. I was trying to avoid pitfalls like the second place guy (in evil points) getting hosed. I am thinking now that the evil cards will be strong and useful to everyone. I would like the DL to be hard to win (to encourage players not to just try to be Evil out of the gate) but he will need to be strong since he is teamed up on. I'm thinking some of the cards will have a value X (=number of opponents) so they 1) are stronger for the DL (X=1 for a non-DL) and 2) scale with number of players.

The battle part is a challenge as it needs to be complex enough to give interesting decisions to the draft, but not so complicated or long that it feels like the draft is a tiny part of the game. There will be some cards with synergies (all red cards get +1). I think to simplify things units will just have a single number for strength (no separate attack and defense number). I'm wondering if I can get away with a simple map (say the size of a Settlers board) where you deploy units one at a time, and maybe they attack adjacent units when placed.

My other main decision is whether the "good" players can fight each other, or maybe they are competing for points without attacking each other directly, or if they are purely cooperative. It seems like it might be more interesting if they are competing somehow but it might weaken the Dark Lord theme if everyone is fighting directly.

Now I'm thinking a Settlers-type map with terrain types. Some of the locations are worth points if you place next to them...or maybe you need a certain unit type in your army to activate them.

Now I'm trying to figure

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Clay Blankenship
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byronczimmer wrote:
Have you seen Fairy Tale ?


Yes. I guess this is similar but I'm trying to make it a bit more complex. Although now that you mention it the card play phase in that could give me some ideas. I'm somewhat inspired by Magic: The Gathering booster drafts, but I want to make it a little more open what your opponents are doing so you can react to their strategies. So instead of everyone picking a card secretly and then passing the hand, I am thinking of a Ticket to Ride style draft where there are several (sets of) cards face up, and you pick one.
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Sanhueza at GAME-O-GAMI
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BoardGameGeek » Forums » Board Game Design » Board Game Design
Re: Brainstorming: an army drafting mechanic with a traitor or Dark Lord
Maybe the Dark Lord could start at an advantageous position on the map, with the Good players spread out. That way part of the challenge is for the Good players to coordinate their forces for a final push against the Dark Lord. And a winning strategy for the Dark Lord(one of many possible strategies) would be to keep them separated for divide and conquer.

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